Oracle developers are still speaking out about their favorite PL/SQL editing and debugging tools, and their opinions truly run the gamut.
Some prefer Oracle's free SQL Developer while others prefer Quest Software Inc.'s Toad for Oracle software. But there are many other choices out there -- with perhaps the most popular being Allround Automations' PL/SQL Developer, which several tend to agree is the best software on the market when it comes to debugging.
Developer Srinivasan Krishnan feels that SQL Developer is slower than Toad, and that PL/SQL Developer is the best choice when it comes to debugging. He also pointed out that for folks who haven't tried PL/SQL Developer yet, Allround Automations offers a free trial version on their Web site.
Steve Green, a systems analyst with Discovery Life in Johannesburg, South Africa, agrees that PL/SQL Developer is best in the area of debugging. But, overall, he prefers SQL Navigator.
"The only functionality that is really missing [in SQL Navigator] is dot lookup on all objects and DBA tools [similar to those] found in Toad," Green said.
Another PL/SQL editor and debugger option that people might want to check out, according to developer Barry Smith, is SQL Tools. But he points out that the software does have a downside.
"SQL Tools is free and uses a minimum of resources. Functionality wise, it perhaps lags a little behind, but where it matters it works," Smith said. "Development on it is a little slow nowadays, but it's on Sourceforge.net which will hopefully improve this."
As a senior applications developer with the U.K. National Health Service, Nigel Maddocks says he's found great success with Edit-DB. One of the things Maddocks likes about Edit-DB is that, because it's a Web-based Java application, users can install it once and then run it and update it from anywhere.
Edit-DB provides the majority of the "day-to-day" features that SQL Developer offers, but it performs better than SQL Developer in certain areas. For one, Maddocks said, Edit-DB is better at visualizing and filtering records in the multi-record view. For another, Edit-DB gives users the ability to double click a foreign key value in a column and, as a result, be taken to view that referenced record.
"With the resources behind SQL Developer, it is unsurprising that it contains a huge number of features, and I would use it for editing large packages," Maddocks said. "However, Edit-DB is more useful to the majority of developers who are not dedicated database administrators, but [serve a] split application/database programming role."
Marcel Hoefs, a senior Oracle consultant with Ciber Nederland, says PL/SQL Developer is by far the best SQL tool he has used. The consultant says PL/SQL Developer clearly excels in the areas of usability, speed, stability, value and customizability.
"PL/SQL Developer is an IDE that is more tailored towards developers than DBA's, but the handy DBA options Toad has are available as plug-ins," Hoefs said. "This makes PL/SQL Developer much faster at startup -- even with a lot of plug-ins -- and it uses less memory than Toad does."